I first met Hannah & Jen of Health Synergy at a Food Styling and Cookbook workshop held by Sneh Roy of Cook Republic. The course itself was amazing, Sneh taught us all about food styling and what publishers are on the lookout for. But I also got to meet some amazing fellow Sydney foodies, like Hannah & Jen.
I had followed Health Synergy for a while, their recipes and photography are so inspiring and look so beautiful! But meeting the girls was even better, they are both so down to earth and lovely and I had a really great day with them. They are so humble and modest, it is hard to believe that they have an incredible bestselling app! It is my go-to for healthy inspiration. The photography alone is enough to get you drooling! So today, I have the absolute pleasure of interviewing this mother-daughter duo on health, happiness and business success. It really is a great read and I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. xx
Tell us a little about yourself and how you developed an interest in health & food?
Health Synergy is a mother & daughter business that has evolved from a mutual passion for health. My mum (Jen) has been studying and/or working as a health practitioner for nearly 20 years. As for me, (Hannah) I am a media student at the University of Sydney with a passion for styling, photographing (and eating!) wholesome foods. My interest in health was primarily inspired by my Mum. Being a naturopath, she is obviously very passionate about health and her philosophy on food is something she lives by in her everyday life. Watching her take such good care of herself inspired me to follow in the same path.
What has most surprised you about the health world on your journey so far?
Something I’ve found particularly interesting as I’ve become more involved in the health food scene is just how many diets there are – it seems as though there is a new ‘miracle’ diet every week! I’ve never been one to adhere to a particular diet so for me this has really highlighted the importance of eating foods that agree with your body, and reinforced the importance of balance – eating the foods you enjoy but in moderation, rather than following some extreme diet that is unlikely to be sustainable.
What is your favourite go-to recipe?
Our favourite go-to breakfast recipe is definitely Acai! It’s very rare that we start the day without it. It’s so energising and delicious. For a quick and easy go-to dinner recipe, we usually make our ‘Organic Truffle Eggs’ or ‘Kale and Ricotta (gluten free) pizza’ – recipes for all are on our app.
It seems no matter how dedicated anyone is, they always have some weak days when they feel like throwing in the towel. What is your biggest motivation to continue your health & food journey on days like these?
For me, I never think about eating healthily as boring, or in a way that means I am depriving myself. For anyone who follows us on Instagram, you will see that we do eat a lot of desserts – perhaps not the kind many people consider dessert, but they are a treat nonetheless. When I’m having a bad day and in search of ‘comfort food’ I wouldn’t even think to turn to chips or milk chocolate, but rather I may indulge in a slice of raw ‘cheesecake’ or a few squares of dark chocolate. I think it is really a question of changing habits and then you won’t be tempted by sugar-laden sweets. It also a question of dose-dependency – if you are really craving something unhealthy, I think it is better to allow yourself to have a small amount and really enjoy it, rather than restricting yourself which may result in over-consumption later on.
There is so much contradictory information out there about how to live life well and be the best version of yourself. If you could pick one piece of advice that has stuck with you, what would it be?
The amount of contradictory information out there in regard to health was one of our key motivations for establishing Health Synergy blog. We are firm advocates for balance and variety, and finding a ‘diet’ that works for you, as no two people are the same. That said, one of the key things my mum has always advocated and that has always stuck with me is the importance of eating foods that are as close to their natural source as possible – that is, foods that have undergone minimal (if any) processing. This is the philosophy we follow when creating all our recipes. For example, medjool dates are our sweetener of choice when making desserts as we are using the whole food, meaning we are consuming the fibre while helps us to metabolise the natural sugars.
How do you approach living a holistic life and the mind, body & spirit connection?
As our name ‘Health Synergy’ suggests, for us health is everything from what we eat, what we put on our skin and the way we live our lives. We do our best to take care of all aspects of our health, rather than focusing solely on diet or exercise. One of my favourite forms of exercise is yoga which I find really encompasses the mind, body and spirit connection as it is as much about breathing, relaxation and clearing your mind as it is about physical exertion.
What is your ideal morning routine?
My ideal morning routine is to start the day with a glass of hot water and lemon, followed by a 10 or 15 minute powerplate session (we very luckily inherited one from my mum’s health clinic!), followed by a big bowl of Acai! In Summer I also love starting the day by going for an ocean swim at Bondi Beach. This always helps to clear my head.
You have grown your business so well and have such an amazing following. Every business takes dedication and hard work, but it seems there are a million strategies out there on how to be successful. Are there any things you can pinpoint that really helped you to grow and lead you to the place you are at today?
I truly believe that hard-work, dedication and commitment are the key factors that have helped get us to where we are today. We genuinely love what we do so even though there are elements of our job that can be challenging, our work is never a chore. Another strategy that I believe is very important is constantly looking for ways to innovate in order to stay relevant. We are always looking for ways to differentiate and improve what we are doing, whether that is trying a new style of photography, thinking of recipes that are unique or thinking of new features or ways of enhancing the functionality of our app. We are always working on the next big project, with the latest being ‘The Ultimate Chocolate and Caramel Collection’ Ebook launch – a collaborative project with Sophie Fisher (@coconutandbliss). It is available to download via our website.
What are your favourite restaurants/ cafes?
I love the cafe and restaurant culture we have in Sydney, we have so many great choices! Some of my local favourite are Harry’s in Bondi, Earth to Table, Luxe in Woollahra and Chiswick (for something a little fancier!) I also love Egg of the universe in Balmain (they also have a great yoga studio), Bread and Circus in Alexandria and Pana Chocolate for a little sweet treat.
You have successfully turned your vision of a healthier life into an amazing health business. Any advice for budding health-repreneurs out there?
I think the best piece of advice we could give is to follow your passion and stay authentic to what you believe in. We really had no expectations as to where Health Synergy would lead when we first started and are so grateful for all the opportunities and possibilities that have ensued. I believe that whatever it is you are passionate about, if you are committed and are willing to put in the hard-work, success will follow, and that is the biggest piece of advice I can think to offer.
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